In a new man-on-the-street video by PragerU, Will Witt visits the University of California San Diego to see what students think about Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Witt got a mixed a reaction, some celebrating him, others not such big fans, but found that most of the students didn’t appear to know much about the iconic radical.
Part of what prompted Witt’s series of questoins was the new “Che Cafe” that opened up in connection to the student organization offices on campus. In a discussion with one of the students working with the “Che Cafe,” Witt is told that the place is designed to be “part student community center, part vegan kitchen,” a “safe space” and a space for “radical ideologies.”
When Witt asks if the cafe includes support of Trump among those ideologies, the student makes clear Trump supporters are not welcome. “Oh no, we mean more like leftist political ideas,” he says. He also explains that if anyone says anything that violates their policies banning “racist” and “transhobic” language, they will “kick them out.”
“Does that include no homophobia?” Witt asks for clarification about the banned “phobias.”
“No homophobia, no transhobia, no racism,” the student responds.
“I was wondering because it’s named after Che Guevara, who put a lot of homosexuals in prison in Cuba,” says Witt.
HuffPost ran an op-ed in 2017 highlighting Guevara’s role in oppressing homosexuals, particularly gay men, in Cuba. Though he has been repeatedly held up by celebrities, activists and left-wing politicians as “a kind of Good Samaritan who fought against oppression and tyranny,” writes contributor Guillermina Sutter Schneider, he was in fact “an intolerant and despicable man” who helped establish the first Cuban concentration camp in 1960 — the first of many Nazi-inspired camps that included homosexual men, whose sexual preferences violated Guevara’s vision of the “new man” of the Marxist revolution.
Anyone who deviated from the “new man” was seen as a ”counter-revolutionary.” Such was the case of gay men —whom Guevara referred to as a “sexual perverts.” Both Guevara and Castro considered homosexuality a bourgeois decadence. In an interview in 1965, Castro explained that “A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant communist should be.”
Che Guevara also helped establish the first Cuban concentration camp in Guanahacabibes in 1960. This camp was the first of many. From the Nazis, the Cuban government also adapted from the Nazis the motto at Auschwitz “Work sets you free” changing it to “Work will make you men.” According to Álvaro Vargas Llosa, homosexuals, Jehova’s Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and others who were believed to have committed a crime against revolutionary morals, were forced to work in these camps to correct their “anti-social behavior.” Many of them died; others were tortured or raped.
When Witt asks other students about Guevara, he gets some strong responses, including one guy who declares Che a “great man” despite his role in a number of human rights atrocities, but he also finds that some students’ knowledge is limited to his iconic depictions. He also asks students about the name of a new building on campus, asking whether they’d prefer Guevara or Ronald Reagan.
Video below via PragerU: